Gregers Werle has just returned from a 15-year self-imposed exile
Gregers. Father, won't you stay a moment?
Werle (stops). What is it?
Gregers. I must have a word with you.
Werle. Can it not wait till we are alone?
Gregers. No, it cannot; for perhaps we shall never be alone together.
Werle (drawing nearer). What do you mean by that?
_During what follows, the pianoforte is faintly heard from the distant music−room. _
Gregers. How has that family been allowed to go so miserably to the wall?
Werle. You mean the Ekdals, I suppose.
Gregers. Yes, I mean the Ekdals. Lieutenant Ekdal was once so closely associated with you.
Werle. Much too closely; I have felt that to my cost for many a year. It is thanks to him that I yes I have had a kind of slur cast upon my reputation.
Gregers (softly). Are you sure that he alone was to blame?
Werle. Who else